2014 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #50: Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Current Team: Val d'Or Foreurs, QMJHL
Date of Birth: May 10, 1996
Place of Birth: Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada
Weight: 187 lbs
In our final prospect profile before Friday's draft, we travel to the "Q" for a kid who seems to be a natural scorer. In a hefty 93 games this season, Aube-Kubel notched 26 goals and 40 assists for 66 points -- a massive improvement from his debut season with Val d'Or. He shows an impressive array of shots, including a devastating wrister,, and has a pro-level quick release. Though a bit undersized, he manages to hold his own in physical battles, and has impressive upper body strength.
With young scorers, you assume that they fall down the list when it comes to defensive play. Not so with Aube-Kubel, who prides himself on his defensive game, and is particularly strong on the back-check. Nice to see those skills being developed in a youngster, as so many premier forwards come into the league with little defensive awareness.
If Aube-Kubel has a weakness, it would be his skating. He receives at best average marks for his skills on the blades, but does have decent speed. On the one hand, you want your forwards to be good skaters, but on the other, those skills can be honed through coaching.
Aube-Kubel holds the #40 ranking among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings, a slight increase from the #45 position he held at mid-season. That makes him a likely early-to-mid second round choice, which seems appropriate for him, given his age, size and experience level. If he can maintain the scoring touch he showed this season, his route to the big time
NHL Central Scouting obviously likes this kid:
He reminds me a little of Jason Pominville, only a little stronger at the same age. He's very involved and shoots the puck really well. He plays in all situations. -- Chris Bordeleau -- NHL Central Scouting
A Good Fit in Columbus?
Aube-Kubel is a sniper, and I'm a big believer that a sniper always has a role in an organization. He just turned 18, so there is no hurry to rush him up. Better to take two or three years to gain some hockey sense, add some bulk, get used to a higher level of play and master the finer points of the game.
That being said, I could see him as a second round selection for Columbus. If it came down to a choice between Bleackley and Aube-Kubel, the nod would go to Bleackley, but Aube-Kubel should be on the board of players under consideration.
Aube-Kubel in Action